It’s very rare I write about anything to do with geopolitics, in fact it’s currently rare that I write about anything other than risk/reinsurance over at Artemis.bm, but a paper I read this morning has got me thinking and in an effort to do more personal blogging here we go.
The 30th October was a memorable day. I was having one of my busiest days ever on Artemis, with traffic having jumped by a factor of 20+ because of interest in our coverage of hurricane Sandy’s impact on the U.S. northeast. Our articles and insight had been picked up by a number of news organisations, including the FT, Le Monde in France, Australian press and some South American news organisations, and then I got an email from Lauren Lyster of Russia Today’s (RT’s) Capital Account.
Apparently Amadeus, one of the world’s largest travel GDS (global distribution system) companies is investing €200m of loans in improvements in their software and services. They make bold claims that they want to ‘revolutionise the travel industry’ which would be fantastic if they could, given their scale and reach, but part of me worries that we’ll end up with something designed from the inside out rather than from the outside in.
On Saturday morning I woke up early thinking about complexity. I blame this on a couple of recent online travel consultancy jobs I’ve done and also on my experiences with travel companies I’ve worked for in the past who were either undergoing a change of reservation system or building their own back-end and packaging systems. Selling travel online is just about as complex as it gets. However, that complexity doesn’t need to be displayed to your users or customers and in fact you should do everything you can to avoid that.
I’ve yet to see anyone get particularly excited about the launch of Google+ from an SEO perspective but believe me they will… I’ve been wondering if Google+ will feed into the organic search results and how that would work. Looking at some of the guidelines and help files shows that Google+ updates ‘may’ be fed into organic results and Google have put terms in their content policy to cover SEO’s trying to game this.
I’ve held senior roles and run projects at major brands where I’ve been responsible for a large part of a web or ecommerce strategy and as a result responsible for a lot of the staff who make that strategy come to life. Every time I’ve taken on a new role or project at a large organisation I’ve been disappointed to see the lack of knowledge sharing that goes on both within the web team and between departments like tech, marketing and web.
It pains me every time I meet a web designer or developer who has no appreciation of how their work can affect a sites SEO, or a marketer who has no appreciation of how important content is and how users like to consume content online or a content producer with no appreciation of how users like to search on Google and how content affects your ranking.
I’m not saying that your designers should be SEO experts, far from it, I just believe that your website would be more effective if the people in charge of certain disciplines had an appreciation and understanding of how that discpline affects and complements the others. This goes for agencies too; personally I wouldn’t hire an SEO agency who didn’t at least understand the relationship between SEO and content and code and how getting all of them right is (generally) going to deliver better results for the business than just getting one of them right (or performing all three activities in total isolation).
In my experience, brands with internal web teams benefit more if there is a mutual understanding of what each area does and how they can impact each other. This can foster better relationships, improve personal development opportunities for staff and result in better results and ROI from all of your web activities. Let your teams share knowledge, present to each other what it is they do and why they need help and understanding from other disciplines and try to encourage a passion for the wider web and digital world in general (believe me, enthused staff are happy and productive staff).
Once you foster a culture of learning and sharing in your organisation you will soon begin to see the benefits. Nothing is more pleasing than seeing developer staff get up from their seats and head down to marketing because they have an idea that will improve a social media campaign landing page or for a content writer to go and talk to your search staff before writing copy for some new pages.
Building and managing websites requires ongoing input and understanding from all disciplines otherwise your website will never perform as well as it could have.
Someone I follow tweeted a link to the Notcot.com design & aesthetics blog which showed their Operation Window Seat series of posts containing photos taken from the window of planes. I love photos which show features of the earth from above so thought I’d dig around in my Flickr sets to see what I could find from my collections.
I could only find two decent shots which were both taken over Siberia en route to Japan (on separate trips). That could be something to do with the amazing scenery and frozen landscape but more likely it’s because I get incredibly bored on longhaul flights. Enjoy!